Over the next month, GBB will be profiling various players the Memphis Grizzlies may target in the 2021 NBA Draft. This year we will be breaking it up in to three sections - five to likely trade up for, five potentially available right around pick #17 where Memphis is slotted to pick, and five that surely will be there or perhaps the Grizzlies could even trade back and still select.
Next up, Davion Mitchell of the Baylor Bears
Davion Mitchell, Guard, Baylor University
- 6’2”, 205 pounds, 6’5” wingspan, 22 years old, Hinesville, GA.
- Two seasons at Baylor University (one at Auburn) - 27.1 minutes per game, 9.0 points per game, 45.9% field goal shooting, 37.6% from three, 3.6 assists, 2.1 rebounds per game, 1.3 steals per game.
- STATS OF STRENGTH (per Tankathon): EFG% (61.3), FG% (51.1%), 3PT% (44.7), TS% (61.9), steals (1.9), DEF Win Shares (.077), DBPM (3.7), Defensive rating (96.0).
- STATS TO IMPROVE: (per 36 minutes), Points per game (15.3), FT% (64.1), FTA Rate (20.7), proj. NBA 3PT% (35.2).
- ACCOLADES AND AWARDS: 2020 Third Team All-Big 12, and All-Defensive Team, 2021 NCAA Tournament Champion.
- CURRENT BIG BOARD PLACEMENTS: 17th (Tankathon), 7th (The Ringer), 6th (CBS Sports), 11th (Sports Illustrated)
A good portion of the 2020-21 season for the Memphis Grizzlies was figuring out which wing wasn’t getting enough run. To say the Grizzlies have a log jam on the wings is a nice way of putting it, but Memphis could be put in a unique position if Davion Mitchell is still on the board at 17.
Mitchell could bring the Grizzlies endless options off the bench, and even with Ja Morant in the backcourt. Mitchell, 22 years of age and coming off of an NCAA Tournament Championship, will bring an instant impact to any team that he is drafted to. Of course, in Memphis, the Grizzlies would have to shed some wing depth if they decided to go with Mitchell.
Either way, Mitchell’s two-way ability at 22 years old makes him one of the hotter prospects in this 2021 NBA Draft.
What He Does Well
Defense. Defense. Defense.
Davion Mitchell’s defense is without a question his best asset. He has quick feet and can beat most offensive players to their spots to draw offensive fouls. Mitchell is also really solid at fighting through screens, and when he switches onto the opposing big, it isn’t BBQ chicken.
Mitchell’s defense in transition is scary to opposing guards as well. The ability to go from 0 to 60 on the hardwood is insane, combine that with his defensive skill set, and he stops a lot of easy transition buckets. Mitchell played a huge role with Baylor Bears having one of the better defensive teams in the NCAA this season - you could trust him on switches.
Some guys play too physical and run the risk of getting into foul trouble, but Mitchell played well this season, especially on guys bigger than his 6’2” frame because of his physicality. He doesn’t back down.
On the offensive end, Mitchell wasn’t tasked with a load of offense this season, but when he was asked to score, he was super efficient for Baylor. His first step is nasty for opposing defenders, as he got to the rim at will this season for the Bears. Mitchell’s ability to pick his spots on the offensive end, and not force shots throughout games is a very underrated part of his game.
Davion Mitchell had a 61.3 percent effective field goal shooting last season, navigating screens, and looking similar to Donovan Mitchell when creating separation off the dribble offensively for Baylor.
Where He Can Improve
For Mitchell, his improvements beyond the arc in catch-and-shoot situations will be pivotal. It’s harder to play ISO ball in the NBA, and there is a chance that he won’t be the ball dominant guard on the floor, so the adjustment to playing off the ball will be huge for Mitchell.
Theoretically for Memphis, Mitchell would share the floor with Ja Morant at times, and would have to knock down that catch-and-shoot corner three/wing jumper off the Morant drive. While Mitchell shot well from deep at Baylor, a lot of that was creating off the dribble, which isn’t bad, but he will be tasked with more at the next level.
Also, when getting freebee’s in the NBA, Mitchell will have to hit his free throws, especially with the frequency that he attacks the rim. 61% from the free throw line won’t be good at all in the NBA, but I doubt Mitchell let’s that translate to the next level.
The Fit With The Grizzlies
Here is where it gets complicated...
A lot of what if’s surround the Grizzlies if they decided to take Mitchell with the 17th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. You would think that Memphis would line up a Grayson Allen in a trade to free up the rotation, but that would also depend on how soon they expect Mitchell to produce consistently in the rotation.
Of course, at 17, if you’re Memphis, you’d like to take a guy that can impact winning in the upcoming season, and Mitchell fits that mold — he’s gotten better every year. He could grow with this young core, and alleviate some of the defensive responsibilities from Dillon Brooks at times.
Mitchell is just a guy that fits with majority of NBA teams, and specifically Memphis due to age, versatility, and time on the floor to grow. He would fit great under Taylor Jenkins, as he believes in player progression, and getting the most out of whomever the five guys on the floor are.
I’m torn on this one...
I like the thought of De’Anthony Melton starting with Morant for defensive purposes, and then Desmond Bane and Mitchell coming in with Tyus Jones in the backcourt. I like that fit, and I personally think Mitchell has a higher ceiling than Grayson Allen at the NBA level.
Leave Anderson at the four off the bench, and Memphis would have arguably one of the better benches in the NBA again in 2022. However, I don’t think Mitchell will be on the board when Memphis’ name is called at 17 on July 29th. I think there are teams that need his versatility, and immediate impact more than Memphis in the lottery. If Mitchell falls to Memphis, I like the fit, but if he doesn’t, Memphis still has depth at the wing.